Open enrollment is fast approaching.

Last fall, I gave up my employer-based health insurance plan and jumped into New York’s health insurance exchange.
Why give up a good health plan that is partially subsidized by my employer to become one more person searching for an unsubsidized plan?

The first factor was principle. While the Affordable Care Act fell far short of my expectations for improving America’s health care system, it was a small step in the right direction. After years of emphasizing the importance of learning from the leading practices of other countries, I felt I should support this nascent system. As a healthy 41 year old, I was a “good bet” for any health insurance company and insurance pools need healthy people paying the full amount to balance out some of the negative selection.

The second factor was flexibility. By disconnecting health insurance from employment, I could make career decisions without having to add “where will I get health insurance?” to the equation.

This wasn’t a financial decision. Monthly premiums were nearly identical for my employer-based plan and my exchange-selected Platinum Plan. My new plan was not as comprehensive and was not accepted by my primary care physician or my dentist. This was inconvenient but manageable. I combed through the health personnel directory, called my new insurer for some guidance, and found new providers.

Open enrollment is fast approaching.

Last year many people were afraid of taking the risk of jumping into the pool. Today we know the exchange is working. There are over 7 million paying customers, costs have come in lower than expected and the number of companies offering plans next year will increase.

Many of my friends and acquaintances have jobs with employer-based health insurance. Many have been vocal advocates of the Affordable Care Act. They have talked about the need for America to improve its public health system. They have talked about the injustice of America’s uninsured. They have talked about the fact that Americans pay far more for health than other countries yet our life expectancy is below that of other wealthy countries.

It is time to talk less and do more. It is time to put your insurance where your mouth is.

Open enrollment is fast approaching.

This fall I will again get insurance on the exchange instead of through my employer. What about you?

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